random updates on life

Ahh! It’s been a crazy few weeks.

Since we last talked, I’ve:

  • Visited friends in California and seen the damage from the fires in Santa Rosa. The devastation is unreal. Although tragedies like this happen around the world every day, this one hits particularly close to home for me. It will take years for my old community to rebuild.

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Also, if you’re on facebook, check out this link of the overview of the damage of Coffey Park, a neighborhood I lived near that was completely destroyed by the fire.

  • Surprised my dad by showing up in Sacramento for a fund-raising ride for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which my family was doing in honor of my nephew, Oliver.

(Don’t think I’ve mentioned it on my blog, but my six-month old nephew has cystic fibrosis. This was a surprise to the whole family — no one in our family history on either side has ever had the disease. It’s quite rare and requires both parents to be carriers. It’s really unfortunate and shocking for us all. That said, Oliver has stolen our hearts and is doing well so far!)

Since returning to Tennessee, I’ve:

  • Completed my first ever academic book review (and probably bombed it).
  • Questioned my life decisions and choice of a masters program. (Prayers appreciated!)
  • Attempted to write more poetry and failed miserably. (Not giving up, though. Maybe I should get a masters in poetry so I have more time to work on it?)

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  • Seen my first concert in years (Blind Pilot) and discovered an amazing British guitarist/vocalist, Charlie Cunningham. (Check out his song “In One Out” below.)
  • Decided to move to the UK — lol . . . no, seriously.
  • Become completely fed up with American society as a whole — oh wait, that’s not new.
  • Found out that a college friend my age passed away yesterday at the age of 33. Life is too short, folks. Embrace it  — even the sucky parts.

(More soon!)

16 thoughts

  1. You look happy Jess, lovely photo’s of you and Dad and oh that little Chappy is a cutypatooty! Nice song too by Mr.Cunningham. That abyss poem was awesome, I definitely felt the sands of time and the abyss! (I’m dumb, I thought it was all one poem until I realised you were just working on one line! doh!)
    Now, as an expert in the UK ( as I’ve lived here 50 odd years now) I am going to warn you that we here are in as big a mess as you there. As far as I can tell from the news, London is a den of iniquity and people can only afford to live there in cardboard boxes as the house prices/rents are astronomical. Unless they are Russian/Arab/Chinese/English Aristocracy millionaires. The streets are paved with homeless. The air pollution there is killing people. They rip off tourists.
    However, Up North, the air is clear, the beaches have gold sand, house prices/ rent are free (just kidding- but they’re reasonable), we love tourists and are proud to show off our history, fairies make your bed and clean your house, we have more castles than anywhere else in England, and we’re next to Scotland, (who hate all the English except us) where there’s even more history and castles.
    Oh and we are all emigrating somewhere, I’m not sure where yet, but we are leaving Europe, so we can’t stay here obviously, am hoping its no-where too rainy :) so you’d better be quick if you’re coming :)

    • I’ve been meaning to respond to this for the past week, Fraggle!

      Thanks for your great comment, as always! Yes, my nephew is adorable, and I miss my whole family and am still smitten with Mr. Cunningham. His music has been on repeat at my household for the past two weeks. 😂

      I don’t doubt that all places have their own problems. I know London is expensive and crowded and polluted and has all of the other problems you mentioned. The same is true for cities everywhere. If I ever did immigrate there, I would go with my eyes wide open and would probably not land in London. I’m just really tired of things in the US. The news is disheartening every day.

      But I’m confused by your last comment. Are you leaving the UK? You’re moving away?

      • Lol, it wasn’t naff! I’m daft, is all. I also don’t keep up enough with world news — or the news at all, actually. (Although when I try I just get depressed. I’ve written about this, haha.) But thanks for clarifying!

  2. I’m spending the weekend near Gualala for my birthday. Normally, we’d drive through Santa Rosa and then cut over to the coast through Guerneville. The cabin owners recommended we cut over at Petaluma instead. A part of me wanted to go through Santa Rosa still and see the damage. I didn’t do it though. That’s one of those things that belongs to the people that are living it. They don’t need me being a looky-loo. But given that you lived there, I think it’s one of those things you have to see if given the chance. Glad you had the chance.

    Regarding your masters program, you’re right about where I was in mine, when I dropped out and enrolled in law school. Law school was infinitely easier. But make sure your master’s program really isn’t right for you — as opposed to the challenge and newness of it is a shock to the system. If you still believe in the subject matter and aim of the program for you, stick with it. Things will smooth out for you. Good luck!

    And good luck to your little nephew — he clearly has an incredible family surrounding him with love and support.

    • Mark, sorry I’m just getting to responding to your comment! I tend to spend hours writing a post and then walk away from my blog for a few days because I have so much else to do!

      It would’ve been fine for you to drive through Santa Rosa. Honestly, there’s not *that* much you can see from 101, anyway. I didn’t get to see nearly as much of it as I would have liked when I was there — mostly because the horror was still raging on. Almost everywhere was blocked off and evacuated… I hope to visit again at Christmas and see friends I missed last time. Santa Rosa will be years rebuilding. It’s especially interesting working at the Water Agency (albeit remotely) right now, as we will be very involved in some of the rebuilding processes.

      Thanks for the encouragement with the masters program. Yes, it’s been a rough start, partly because I’m currently only partially immersed in the program. I’m only taking one class this semester, and it’s been a doozy, for sure. I’m trying to remember what you said, though, and to focus on the end goal. The idea of a masters degree with a special focus on ESL/L2 writing excites me and will open up a lot of doors.

      Also, thanks for the kind words for Oliver! I’m thrilled to be his aunt, and yes, he’s got a lot of love and support!

  3. Sad to hear what some of your friends are going through, and Charlie as well. Hope all of them manage to find strength and get back up once again. Life can be very, very tough sometimes and it also sounds like a bit of frustration in your corner too :/ Hope you figure out your Masters and have more time to write at some point. Sometimes we just have to put what we love aside to just live. You look so happy at the concerts. Maybe you should do that more :) Sending you hugs across the miles and hope all will go well for you <3

    • So nice to hear from you, Mabel! I have been a terrible blogging friend. I’ve been so out of touch for such a long time. I need to stop by your blog. :)

      Thanks for the kind words for my friends in Santa Rosa. Yes, they’re going through a lot — it breaks my heart. :( Charlie is okay, though. He’s on tour in Ireland and the U.K.! I definitely enjoyed his concert and a few other events I’ve attended since moving to Knoxville. I’ll definitely try to go to more.

      Thanks also for the encouragement regarding my masters program. It’s been a bit daunting here in the beginning, but I just got an important paper back and did pretty well on it, so I’m feeling encouraged. This degree will open up a lot of doors for me, so I just have to keep on keeping on!

      Hugs to you, too!

  4. Just started following your blog! Its awesome! Oliver must be such a little inspiration! I too have Cystic Fibrosis and I just turned 20 years old, if you or anyone in your family ever wanted support from another CFer or had any questions, I’d be happy to talk! I just started my own blog about living with the disease.

    • Hi Josilyn, oh wow! Thank you for following, and it’s neat to meet someone else with this condition! I mean, not that I’m glad that you have it, but it’s neat to talk to someone who has it and is doing well. I am really thankful for modern medicine. I know you and Oliver will have much better lives than people who had it many years ago. I’ll follow your blog, too. I knew nothing about CF until Oliver was diagnosed and still have much to learn… Nice to meet you! :)

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